Tomorrow marks the one-month anniversary of the little big muscle man hurting me with 5 lb dumbbells and making me realize that this is what was missing in my life.
I can happily report I’ve shown up 3 days a week for the last 4 weeks to the gym to do our workouts as planned. When I can create a routine that feels enjoyable and that I look forward to, I succeed, and this has been the case here. Mondays and Wednesdays at 530 or so, we put down work for a bit and walk to the gym, do our workout, and walk home (Fridays, sometimes at lunch, sometimes after work, or sometimes Saturday instead, for those of you keeping track). Sometimes we just go right there and back, especially if it’s the second workout for the day but it’s still an extra 1.2-mile walk. Sometimes we’ll take the long way home and look for holiday decorations. Sometimes the long way includes a stop to get dinner somewhere. Occasionally, I’ll have to go back to work after dinner, but it’s generally quieter and I get more done at 8pm than at 530 anyway, so it works out.
I also can happily report that my strength is improving. I’ve progress up in weights and/or reps when the exercises repeat very occasionally. Often, though, we’ll do something completely different and it’s kinda fun not to know exactly what I’m in for until I get there. I’m no longer sore for days after these workouts – I’ll feel it a little bit the day after but not so much that I’m unable to function, some days it’s barely noticeable. When I started this, I was worried it would mess with Ironman training (I need to cardio 5-6 days a week) but now that I’m used to it, I think it will be totally doable.
Another perk is that my body feels SO much more stable. I have not done a lick of “core”, focusing on push (arms), pull (arms), shoulders, and legs instead. I’m guessing core work has been a biproduct as my back has not bothered me at all. Occasionally I’ll notice it, but it’s the soreness of muscles on the edge of overdoing it (that are fine later or the next day), not this weird seizing and then hobbling around for days, unable to pick stuff up off the floor. After so many months of pain, a small reprieve, then more pain I’m hesitant to say I’m actually truly recovering here, but all signs are pointing in that direction. Of course, nothing can be perfect, and I’m nursing a bit of a cranky heel, but I think I just need to solve some running shoe problems there. Besides those weird heel twinges, all is lovely!
What I’m not seeing is any noticeable progress in body composition or weight. I know I’m not giving 100% in this area – my food tracking has been spotty at best, and I know I’m not hitting 1500 calories exactly per day or sticking to my macros, and the frequency at which I’ve gone out to dinner lately is obnoxious. I will continue to give this the best I can through the holidays, since halfway trying is better than not trying at all, but I’m ready to give this my all in January. Also, lack of quality sleep and stress is a thing up in here lately, and I’m hoping that 3 weeks off work will be the recharge I need to feel like myself again after a super exciting but stressful year.
During the fall the last few years (pre-2020), I’ve spent it on my bike adventuring. I wish I could say the same this year, but I’ve neglected it badly since the race, doing maybe a handful of trainer rides instead. Fall 2021 has really been about being on foot – last week I put together 16 running miles and 15 walking miles. The weather has been beautiful, I’m up to seven miles (running, not run/walk!), and I’ve loved the return to solving all the problems during the active meditation which is the long run. If I stick with +1 mile to my long run each week from now until 3M (1/23/2022), I think I’ll be able to run 10 miles as my NYE run, and 13.1 miles on 3M day should be the next week’s natural progression instead of a big jump. I have zero goals for this race except I would like to slowly jog the whole thing and feel good after.
I know I will need to become reacquainted with my bike again soon. Once I finish out this last week of work, I have BIG PLANS to go play bikes outside more often over vacation simply because we’ll have the daylight to do so. Swimming – I’m not afraid of it being the 4th or 5th focus (after weights and even nutrition) right now. Yes, I need to swim 2.4 miles in April but whatever. I don’t anticipate any issues getting there, and this shoulder/arm strength I’m building will DEFINITELY be an asset. My swimming limitations were my cranky back and a crunchy shoulder from the bike crash, and both of these seem to have improved throwing weights at the problem, so I’ll keep at it and not worry about actual pool time right now.
Life feels a bit more normal lately. Yeah, I spend my days WFH in pajamas, and it’s weird wearing a piece of cloth over my nose and mouth that fogs up my glasses every every everywhere in public, but it’s starting to feel routine and we’re actually out there in the world a bit and human-ing. In the last week or so, we had our every-2-weeks D&D group over, we went for dinner and saw the opening night of Hamilton on Tuesday, had our ‘rents over for dinner and cards on Thursday, and walked to dinner on Friday as well.
Yesterday, I got my Covid booster (the price for being a human in these times, I suppose). I have been trying to schedule it for some time but didn’t have a weekend where I could do nothing for 1-2 days if necessary (since the J&J kicked my arse for a whole weekend back in April, I wanted to be prepared). I also wanted to get it in plenty of time before vacation. So, I worked up until I had to go for my run, I ran (did I mention seven miles without walking? wheee!), and then took notes on the work problem I was crunching in my head during the run, and then cleaned up a little and Joel drove me downtown to get my jab. On the way home, we celebrated with Easy Tiger (that pretzel was damn delicious) and stocked up on a few things in case I felt terrible.
The head fog descended pretty quickly and is still prevalent (I’m going to guess this is not going to be my most grammatically smooth or even grammatically correct missive I’ve ever put together), and I’ve been a little extra tired the last 24 hours. I had the most INSANE carb cravings last night (like, I needed to keep eating carbs or I was going to die), and I definitely had to vocalize the things wrong with Wheel of Time while we were watching it even though I really did quite enjoy it! However, I experienced no fever, aches, chills, nausea, or sweating through my sheets while sleeping nonsense like last time. I’m really hoping tomorrow I’ll wake up feeling 100% back to normal – I have a presentation to give and a LOT to do – but enduring a little bit of a mood and the tireds this weekend was well below the expectations of my misery.
Regardless of how I feel, the train continues to chug along the tracks for just one more week. Five more weekdays including 2 power point presentations, 1 post-mortem, 6 more reviews, at least 20 meetings, finishing up a few projects, and one holiday livestream to top it off (not to mention 3 weights sessions, a few runs, and probably some walks) and then I’m looking forward to a nice end-of-December slowdown. I am ready.